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Study Finds That Three-Quarter of Americans Would Blow the Whistle on Wrongdoing in the Workplace

According to a recent study commissioned by Labaton Sucharow LLP, a securities and antitrust law firm, approximately three-quarter of Americans say that they would be willing to report wrongdoing in the workplace, as long as they were protected against retaliation, could remain anonymous, and would receive a monetary reward.

The “Ethics and Action Survey,” conducted from November 17 to 20, 2011, questioned 1007 Americans, and found that 78% of respondents would blow the whistle on workplace wrongdoing. The survey also found that 34% of respondents claim knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace.

The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub.L. 111- 203, which was enacted by Congress in 2010, includes provisions intended to encourage reporting of fraud and other malfeasance.  These include strong protections against retaliation and financial rewards for whistleblowers between 10 and 30% of the penalties or monies recovered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  The Ethics and Action Survey showed that a startling 68% of the individuals interviewed were unaware of the new whistleblower program operated by the SEC, following the enactment of Dodd-Frank.

Reflecting on its results, the study states:

It is disheartening to see that wrongdoing in the workplace continues to be so widespread. However, the findings affirm the need for, and value of, the SEC’s Whistleblower Program. This program, in concert with other regulatory reforms, has the potential to dramatically enhance investor protection and restore public faith in the markets.

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